Will India’s Kashmir talks offer break fresh ground?

October 16, 2009

New Delhi said this week it will adopt “quiet diplomacy” with every section of political opinion to find a solution to the problems in India-ruled Kashmir about four years after it opened a dialogue with separatist groups there.

The response to the announcement is on expected lines — the moderates welcoming it and pro-Pakistan hardliners reminding any effort at peace without involving Islamabad would be futile.

New Delhi has not yet made a formal offer for talks. But the timing of the development appears to be significant.

Violence is at a low in Kashmir, elections there were largely successful and last year’s angry public protests against Indian rule have now subsided.

On the other hand, the security situation is at its worst in Pakistan and the war in Afghanistan appears to be in a decisive phase.

There is also growing realisation in Washington about the impact of the India-Pakistan rivalry on the Afghan war as pointed out in this Reuters analysis.

Pakistan has long demanded that resolution of the Kashmir dispute be made part of any effort to stabilise South Asia, a move strongly resisted by India.

The United States wants Pakistan to concentrate its military efforts on fighting the Taliban and other Islamist groups on its western border. For this Washington would like to see India and Pakistan reduce their tensions.

So could it be that international pressure was devolving on India to resolve the Kashmir issue and New Delhi’s latest offer for talks was only aimed at deflecting that pressure by giving the impression that it was engaging with Kashmiris?

Or is it that the time is right to strike a deal with moderate Kashmiri groups? Does New Delhi believe that a Pakistan caught up in a vortex of bloody conflict would now be less attractive to the modern Kashmiri youth aware of India’s rising financial and political stature in the world?

The Mint newspaper suggests if India hoped to settle the Kashmir issue it had to engage with those who want meaningful autonomy for the state and politically isolate the hardline pro-Pakistan groups

Clearly the need is for a solution that will be implementable on the ground in Kashmir and not a formula that only satisfies New Delhi and Islamabad.

Do you think New Delhi is finally moving towards that solution in right earnest?

(PHOTO: An Indian policeman stands guard after a grenade blast in Srinagar October 6, 2009. REUTERS/Danish Ismail)

21 comments

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Some think that Kashmir issue cannot be resolved until Pakistan get dissolved by Taliban or India gets dissolved by Pakistan.

It is endless and mindless hatred instead of live and let live with economic unification of all, for real groundwork for public at large, due to intellectual bandwidth of leaders from all groups and nations.

Less than 70 years back, we were all Imperial India. Are we better off being bitter with each other now than being united against colonial Britain in the struggle for independence ?

Partition is easier to induce or enforce than attain or admire economic unification through better public benefit outlay through defence budgets cuts.

China will not let this happen through misguiding leadership by misdirected strategic spin, even if USA will favour enlarged largest democracy of the world.

Forget Jinnah and forget Gandhi as we need to remember that they or their plans have not worked for today’s state of affairs.

Union of interests will lead to unification of leadership which leaders of different groups, factions and nations will never undergo. Mergers of corporations are done for financial benefits and economies of scale and scope, economic unification for social and humanitarian benefit is not understood by leaders in Indian sub-continent; be it India, Pakistan, Bangladesh at all.

Peace at any price, sacrificing leadership positions: three presidents, three prime-ministers, three x, y, z and so on… is a thought known to common public but lost on the higher echelons of separatist, splinter, strategy think tanks.

Peace visits us all before we all go up in pieces, if Afghan or Pak Taliban gains control over nuclear weapons in Pakistan, which will destroy Afghanistan and Pakistan from within and won’t spare Kashmir or rest of India from without.

Where are we headed ? Do these leaders, Indian, Pakistani, Afghani or Kashmiri know the common public good ?

Posted by Honest Pakistan born Indian | Report as abusive

Senior Kashmiri Hurriyet leader, Syed Ali Gilani has said that the Kashmir dispute can only be resolved by implementing the relevant resolutions of the United Nations.
In a media interview in New Delhi, Syed Ali Gilani said that he would participate in the conference and other forums and raise the Kashmir dispute. He said that he would tell the participants of the conference that India had forcibly occupied Jammu and Kashmir and Indian troops were trying to crush the liberation movement through use of brute force.

The Hurriyet leader maintained that Kashmir could neither be kept in cold storage nor the Kashmiris’ struggle could be suppressed through state terrorism. He said that the massive human rights violations by the troops in the occupied territory had exposed the real face of Indian democracy. He said that the dispute should be resolved in accordance with the aspirations of the people so that permanent peace could be established in South Asia.

Earlier, the occupation authorities allowed Syed Ali Gilani to visit New Delhi after keeping him in illegal detention for three months in Chashmashahi sub-jail and under house arrest for weeks at his Hayderpora residence.

Meanwhile, the forum patronised by Syed Ali Gilani, in a statement, while expressing concern over the deteriorating condition of illegally detained Hurriyet leaders and activists including Muhammad Ashraf Sehrai, Masarrat Alam Butt, Muhammad Yousuf Mir, Farooq Ahmad Gotapuri, Imtiaz Haider and Amir Hamza, demanded their immediate release.

Make it “Indian Federation” with INdia, Pakistan, B’desh and Kashmir. May be Srilanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives at a later stage!

Posted by SOman | Report as abusive

It is in China’s interest to SE ASIA weak and un-united. Democratic SE Asians should rise up to the communist challenge!

Everyday there is direct or indirect communist attack on SE Asian democracy!

Posted by Soman | Report as abusive

^^^agreed.
62 years of warring has left us nowhere. South-Asia albeit teeming with talent and resources is among the lowest per capita income regions in the world. India and Pakistan although seem to be making some progress on economic fronts, true economic freedom for individuals of these countries ultimately hinges on their ability to set aside their differences and taboos and work together.
And by taboos I mean the established stances and beliefs we, the people of Pakistan and India, have been taught in our text books, like ‘Kashmir is the jugular vein of Pakistan’ or ‘Kashmir is an integral part of India’ etc.
What people of this region need to realize is that half a century of warfare has failed to achieve neither side’s objectives, and will fail to do so even for another half century as well, especially with both sides brandishing nuclear weapons.
Both countries need to realize that any possible solution will be born out of both sides conceding from their established standpoints, no matter how bitter it tastes to hard liners on both sides of the border.
Kashmir divided in to Jammu and Kashmir is one possible solution (Jammu with Hindu majority goes to India and Kashmir valley with 99% muslim population goes to Pakistan), Chenab formula is another, or even an independent Kashmir (comprising both Pakistani and Indian parts).
New power blocks are fast arising on the scene. Without durable peace in the region, no matter how shiny Indian economy seems, this region will remain a third class place to live in.

Posted by Bilal | Report as abusive

The problem in Kashmir is that India and Pakistan are pursuing different goals through the process of talks. And, both are not clear what would would either party like to let go as a price for reaching a peaceful and durable settlement.

For example, India will not let the redrawing of its map on religious lines after surviving one horrid experience in 1947. Pakistan does not know, short of valley in Kashmir, what will keep it satisfied to give up on state terrorism. When independence is out of the door, autonomy is the only option in Kashmir. Like that in Punjab and Bengal, Kashmir should be split on the LoC and then the borders should be made porous for trade and travel.

South Asia, unlike Europe, is not yet ready to come together like a union where free trade and free movement of labor will be practiced. It may take decades more for that to happen.

Posted by Nikhil | Report as abusive

Why culprits of britsh are still in India and Pakistan
Subcontinent needs no more control through these people
we the Kashmiris are just wishing to live the way we want
enough is enough with the occupation of Kashmir

Kashmir divided in to Jammu and Kashmir is one possible solution (Jammu with Hindu majority goes to India and Kashmir valley with 99% muslim population goes to Pakistan), Chenab formula is another, or even an independent Kashmir (comprising both Pakistani and Indian parts).
- Posted by Bilal
=====

Very amusing to read. In other words what you didn’t achieve thru 4 wars and terrorism, you think you wll get by saying “peace” “peace” and claiming Indian economy will not grow.

Indian econmomy took off at the same time when pakistan started Kashmir jihad. While pakistan economy has collapsed, Indian economy is thriving.

What started as a messed up country creation in 1947 , evolved into an ideological battle and now a security issue for India.

The above proposed divisions of J& K undermine the very idea of India. There are numerous muslim majority villages, towns and neighbourhoods across the length and breadth of India. Should they all become separate countries?

Partition ideology is irrelevant or should I say cannot be relevant to India. The talks will focus on more autonomy, and address other grievances.

Contrary to the fantasies of paks all other sessionist movements have died out except for a section of Kasmiri muslims. India will wait it out.

Nobody can decide the future of Kashmir except Kashmiris themselves. Referendum is the only answer.

Posted by Mansoor Siddiqui | Report as abusive

No doubt the international pressure, i don’t think any respite for Kashmiris. India will start something just to give an impression that this time it is serious in its efforts to ease tensions with Pakistan and hold meaningful dialogue to settle Kashmir conflict, but Kashmiris feel it as just a time-buying technique employed time and again.
There is a clear frustration in the minds of youth who constitute more than 65 percent of the population. I really fear the mind-set of those individuals, particularly youth, will likely deteriorate into a continuous feeling of occupation and endangerment, leading them to pick up arms again, if an imminent solution to Kashmir conflict isn’t forged.
Youth in their jeans and addidas, the resentful young men of Srinagar identify most closely with youths on the streets of Gaza and the West Bank, not those in arms training camps. And they also insist that religious heads support what they do, and that if they die in a protest, they be considered as martyrs.
But what if that too didn’t bear any fruits. God knows.

I think Indian politicians lack statesmanship to avoid cohesive interaction while Pakistan and separatist leaders lack leadership to understand price of war and value of peace.

They play lives and future of millions in entire subcontinent by playing with bias as basis to further their own interest.

India is progressing economically and we, Pakistanis should be spending our time, money, thought and efforts on building Pakistan and having India as neighboring trade partner.

So much of human loss with usage of war weaponry against Afghanistan or India or within Pakistan, is affecting public.

Who is at top level in any of these nations, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India or militant leaders having head/heart bigger than their egos, to sacrifice peace, freedom and development, to continue to feast on this festering problem against harmonious human development index which this region suffers from !

Nuclear weapons can’t enforce peace until new clear and clean conscience of leadership in Pakistan and India align with peace of mind for public benefit.

Posted by Mushtaq Khan, Lahore | Report as abusive

Political agitation through terrorism is fueled by Pakistan. The Kashmir issue has lost all moral definition, as it is hijacked and owned and fueled by the Pak Army.

Pakistani’s dont care damn about human rights and freedom in Kashmir, as they don’t care damn about human rights in Balochistan and the Genocide in Bengal. If this fictious Ummah is the reason, then why no Paks here standing up against for the Uighers in the wake of oppressive Chinese crackdown?

Have another look in your backyards, the militants are starting to invade your urban residential areas. They are not Indians, they are muslims, ready to kill Pakistani’s. Abandon the fairy tale myth of an evil India, it has been fed for so long to you, it is a complete lie.

It is time for Pakistan to redefine its priorities if it wants to survive as a country. It is time to abandone Kashmir and focus in internal matters like farming, security and its economy.

Posted by GW | Report as abusive

With separation pakistan turned out into a model nation; now kashmir will become a paradise i guess,

With 200 millions muslims living in india, it can not lose land on religious grounds.Another 60 yrs or more of this you decide, why hurry and to give away land.Makes no sense.Thatswhy plebiscite and UN can not apply here.The partition didnt work the way it was meant to be.Clearly,India was cheated.

Indian military’s huge presence in Kashmir is not to oppress the locals. Kashmir is a border state with a known history of infiltration by trained elements from Pakistan. The military is there to counter terrorist elements coming from Pakistan. If the locals support them and show their displeasure at being treated like an occupied country, it will only make the Indian resolve even harder to hold on to Kashmir at any cost. There is a lot of pride and ego involved. Pakistan has no love for Kashmiri Muslims. Kashmir is a pawn in its never ceasing conflict with India. If Kashmir was somehow resolved, Pakistani military will invent something else to keep the conflict with India alive. Without India, the Pakistani military has no credible justification for its power hold of the nation. So it needs India at all times to survive. Kashmir is the fuel it is using to keep the conflict burning. So I’d advise Kashmiri Muslim youth to think hard about how to help the Indian military in tackling Pakistan sponsored militancy in the valley. Turning against India will only prove counter productive and make it near impossible to make any compromises. India is economically very strong to fight ten such conflicts inside its territory. It is already engaged with the Maoists, the North Eastern states and for decades nothing has changed. Kashmiris should not try separate themselves because they are Muslims. That has been tried and the failure of such an idea is demonstrated in the form of Pakistan. India will never allow secession in the name of ideology. There are states like Uttar Pradesh in India which have more Muslims than states like Kashmir. India itself has a Muslim population comparable to that in Pakistan and Bangladesh. India sees the Kashmiri rebellion as something stage managed by Pakistan. There is no point in bleeding yourselves fighting India. Pakistan has no hopes for its own survival as a nation. The best option would be to come forward and accetpt the LoC as a border and stay as a state of India. At least peace will prevail and jobs can be created. Isolating yourself from India will not be acceptable to India. I see no other alternatives. At least learn to live like other Indians within the union and go about your lives. You will not survive as an independent nation, land locked and surrounded by hostile nations. Your state is in geographical battle zone between China, India, Central Asia and Pakistan. You will be eaten by one hound or the other. Figure out which one is more benevolent and survive under its shade. China can run you over in a day and no one can do anything about it. Ask the Tibetans. The only deal Kashmiri Muslims shoud be making with Indian government is how to come to the fold and live a normal life. Do not throw stones at the Indian military. The other militaries are much worse. Being with India is your only hope. Do not botch by emotional blindness. India did not invade Kashmir like the Soviet Union did in Afghanistan or China did in Tibet. Do not equate those events with India’s actions in Kashmir. Your state already has special previleges. At least accept them enjoy the status. India can abrogate those previleges and allow other Indian citizens to move in. Then you will regret your actions. I am only offering a practical advise for peace.

Well, talks with these leaders have to start at some point. If these pro-Pak leaders are bit smart they should grab the opportunity and move on with the talks with New Delhi rather than insisting on the tripartite talks involving Islamabad.

The problem of Kashmir is that Kashmir has a pathetic (or no) leadership. There is no towering Kashmiri personality which commands respect of Kashmiris. The movement is hijacked by Pakistan and the terrorists. There is no one else to blame except Kashmiris.

Let us assume Kashmiris decide to merge with Pakistan, would they be treated like the Muhajirs in Pakistan? and How about Shia Kashmiris, what motivation they have to merge with Pakistan?

Any idea what the Kashmiris in Pakistan occupied Kashmir want? No news at all about the status of those Kashmiris—why?

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

I think only Koran has the answer. It can solve all mysteries of world, including forecasting what is going to happen the very next moment.

Posted by Mohammed Sheikh | Report as abusive

Mohammed Sheikh,

The problem is your statement, why Koran why not Gita or The Bible or for that matter a hebrew text which can give the answer.Partition of a country on caste, religion or language can never be the answer.Existential philosphers have said accept the world the way it is, there may be a reason for so many religions to flourish in this world & even if Allah is the only true god of the universe he may have had his own reasons for creating Hindus and christians. The discovery of God should be left to an individual, the state should never be a party to it which Islamic nations unfortunately have not been able to adhere.

Education is about liberation from ignorance, unless investments is made in the subcontinent to provide that liberally there is no hope that things would be better.The fundamental flaw of religion is divine revealings are usurped by thugs,illiterates & so called zealots who have no respect for individual liberty or equality to choose & do what one wants.This quagmire benefits only a few who revel & make merry at the expense of others.

I think talks would be the only way out & not arm twisting. I am not sure what the end results would be A) Status Quo- Psychologically some people will feel let down, B) Giving it away – unlikely C) Bloodshed – Very Likely D) Obliterating the whole continent – Guaranteed.
Sit back & now enjoy this ride of kashmir.

Posted by Vijay | Report as abusive

@”Clearly the need is for a solution that will be implementable on the ground in Kashmir and not a formula that only satisfies New Delhi and Islamabad.
“Do you think New Delhi is finally moving towards that solution in right earnest?”
Posted by: Krittivas Mukherjee

–OK, so what will satisfy Kashmiris? If Delhi is not sincere, it is much helped by the so-called Kashmiri leaders who have no vision for a common Kashmiri. Instead of grabbing the chance and see what Delhi has to offer, these Huriyat leaders like Gilani have a knee-jerk reaction and say NO to meeting with Delhi without Islamabad involvement. Does he not meet with leaders in Islamabad? He does, so what’s his problem meeting with those in Delhi. It is not that he is finalizing a deal.

It is the bad luck of Kashmiris that they have no towering figure that can represent them. Indians had Gandhi/Patel/Nehru/Jinnah against British, Blacks in America had Martin Luther King, Palestinians had Yasser Arafat, pashtuns had Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, and Kashmris have none to match. All that comes to mind is terrorists like LeT and other sister organizations and blindfolded separatists with no vision. Does it say something about the Kashmir and the Kashmir issue? Perhaps it means that Kashmir independence or merger with pakistan is a non-issue and that’s why many rejected the separatist leader in the current election.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

2nd try

If Delhi is not sincere, it is further helped by the Kashmiri separatist leaders who have no vision. Instead of grabbing the chance and see what Delhi has to offer, these Huriyat leaders like Gilani have a knee-jerk reaction and say NO to meeting with Delhi without Islamabad involvement. Does he not meet with leaders in Islamabad? He does, so what’s his problem meeting with those in Delhi. It is not that he is finalizing a deal.

It is the bad luck of Kashmiris that they have no towering figure that can represent them. Indians had Gandhi/Patel/Nehru/Jinnah against British, Blacks in America had Martin Luther King, Palestinians had Yasser Arafat, pashtuns had Khan Abdul Gaffar Khan, and Kashmris have none to match. All that comes to mind is terrorists like LeT and other sister organizations and blindfolded separatists with no vision. Does it say something about the Kashmir and the Kashmir issue? Perhaps it means that Kashmir independence or merger with pakistan is a non-issue and that’s why many rejected the separatist leader in the current election.

Posted by rajeev | Report as abusive

Ever since the US got heavily involved in Afghanistan during the Soviet Invasion, we always seem to blame the United States for our misery. Over the past 30 years, governments have come and gone, while politicians have been assassinated. Pakistanis have always seemed eager to jump the gun and point fingers at the United States for any hardship faced within our boundaries. But I ask you, are we incapable as a nation of 175 million, to stand up on our own two feet? We are quick in forming conclusions and finding a target to place our misery upon, but can we not take the blame for our misgivings?

http://ahraza.wordpress.com/2009/09/30/t his-is-our-time/

will kashmir agree to a further division- kashmir A made up of muslim pro-pak people; and kashmir B made up of non-muslim kashmiris? if not, then how can they seek a division from india? will PoK also be returned to kashmir A? since the biggest advocate of kashmiri independence is itself guilty of gobbling up a completely independent country – tibet! how safe will kashmir A&B be? one day, nepal will be like tibet of today: no boundaries except the one it shares with india. our intelligent neighbours have realised that they don’t have to launch any attacks on us to destroy us, we are cumbling from within. there is no indian alive today – only assamese, bengalis, biharis, marathis, UPites, tamil, oriya, gujerati, andhras, kannad, malyali, himachali, rajasthani, kashmiri, goanese, madhyapradeshi, gorkha, punjabi, haryanvi, manipuri, mizo, tripuri, naga. will the indian stand up and show his face? since when has it become mandatory for people to become one on the basis of language alone? every state in the union enjoys great autonomy, what more do you want? united we stand, divided we fall.

Posted by ms | Report as abusive